Last Friday, 427 graduates at Richmond Senior High School cheered loudly as they began their march into the high school stadium to the familiar tune of ‘Pomp & Circumstance.”
For these seniors, 13 years of education came down to the one night they had looked forward to all year long. While most were brimming with excitement for the future, the students also acknowledged how much they would miss the familiar halls of Richmond Senior High and the familiar faces of their peers and teachers.
Senior Todd Inman had perfect attendance all 13 years of his school career. Having never missed a day of school, graduation had an especially important meaning to him.
“This means everything — it’s bigger than everything,” Inman said. “Everyone can’t accomplish this, so it’s an amazing feeling.”
The ceremony featured performances by the RSHS band and chorus, along with a special releasing of doves in memory of Jammal Kegler, a popular student who passed away suddenly two years ago.
Principal Cory Satterfield shared some of the numerous accomplishments for the class of 2012, which includes $3.8 million earned in scholarships, 62 North Carolina Scholars and 53 presidential awards.
Valedictorian Brittany Hudson shared before the ceremony that she intended for her message to be light-hearted. Hudson encouraged her classmates to go forward and make their dreams come true.
“I didn’t want to make people cry,” Hudson said. “I just wanted to offer some words of encouragement and my perspective on where we go from here.”
Salutatorian Meagan Davis echoed Hudson’s sentiments. She joked with her peers about a familiar phrase that many of them used, “YOLO,” which stands for “you only live once.” Davis encouraged students to take the catchy quote more seriously as they prepared to start their future paths.
“I knew I wanted to write something for the entire class,” Davis said. “This is their day. It was truly an honor to be able to speak before them.”
After the reading of names, students and families celebrated as students turned their tassels and fireworks lit up the sky. At the end of the ceremony students gathered with their family and friends inside and outside of the stadium, reflecting on what had been and what was to come.
“Almost everyone here has been together since pre-school, so to finally all come together to leave is somewhat sad,” Courtney Pope, who plans to attend UNC-Wilmington, said. “But it’s a good feeling to know that I still have quite a few friends going with me.”